Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A View from Nicholas' Cage's Window! Left Behind!! Releasing Friday, October 3rd!!


Moderator:  Cassi, or Nicky, or anybody who wants to kind of join in and, if anybody wants to just quickly answer this question, just is there something anybody would just put out here that you would hope people take away from this movie? It seems something people have asked many, many times. I have a handful of emails asking that question. Is there something that you think would be important for someone who watches this to get out of it?

 Nicolas Cage: Well Hi, this is Nicolas Cage and I was just listening and I, I’d like to answer that question. I was very taken by the family dynamic that plays out in this script. And that’s what drew me to the project. That and an opportunity to work again with Vic Armstrong. I had a good rapport with him on another movie. So I felt that I could get to where I wanted to go with Captain Steele. Because this is, this is a person who is in an extraordinary situation and realizes really what his values are through the, he reaches a catharsis through the experience of this extraordinary flight that he’s on. And, gets back to the heart which is his relationship with his family, which is his relationship with “Chloe” his daughter which is so powerfully, she’s so powerful Cassi Thomson in the movie. And I think that that’s what I want, if there’s anything for me, I want that to come across that people realize, yeah we all make mistakes but in a moment of crisis what we really want, what we really go to, go back to is, the love we have for our families. And that’s what, that’s what pulled me in, into this, into this project. That, and also how you make such an extraordinary set of circumstances authentic and how do you make that real and that was a tremendous challenge for, for all the actors to, to play it almost Cinéma vérité that this is really happening and we’re really believing in this situation and it’s to, to convey that to the audience is the challenge. I’ve always been attracted to movies that aren’t afraid to venture into the unknown. City of Angels, movies that were knowing, movies that aren’t afraid to face the possibility of these extraordinary circumstances and, and the challenge of making that real.

 Moderator: That’s great. Thank you so much Nicolas we knew you were going to get on and we really appreciate you joining us so, thank you so much. Everyone has anxiously been awaiting your arrival here. So we’re going to ask you a few questions here. And then, you know I had said at the beginning of the call if there’s anything that, you know, you want at anytime or anybody from the cast just wants to interject or add in that maybe we’re not asking specifically. One of the things we’re getting a lot of questions about that people are writing in is, you know, we’re all fans of your interviews, we know you’ve worked on many different types of roles, you’ve probably already been asked this but people here would really like to know, what about this script or what regarding the movie in general, you know, I know you’ve mentioned things about, you know, your brother before, you’ve mentioned things about just, you know, we’ve all talked, I don’t know if you heard us, a little earlier in the call about, you know The Leftovers, and other, like, shows that are out right now, kind of speaking to end-times. Is there anything regarding just culture today or anything that you could share about you know, why you would say yes to a movie like this?

Nicolas Cage: Well again, I, I really said yes on the merits of the screenplay. And also to work with, to work with Vic again, the director. I think all artists, if you’re tapped in, if you’re tuned in, to the zeitgeist, you know when they’re open to that, they’re going to pick up on, on that. And things happen I think, I really believe things happen collectively around the world that, people get thoughts and they start, you know, I didn’t know about The Leftovers. I didn’t know that was a television show that was already happening but you can pick up on these things. I mean, at one time I think someone invented a steam train in one part of the world and another person was inventing the same thing and they had never talked. So I mean, there are times when you can, you can, you can tap into something subconsciously. But that wasn’t on my mind, I wasn’t aware of any of it. I just felt that the script was a challenge and it gave me a chance to really try to make the extraordinary, believable. And, and to do something authentic within performance so that everything around me was, was going into chaos. People were just appearing on the airplane and how did I make that organic? How did I make that authentic? And again, all the actors, Chad Michael Murray, Cassi Thomson, Nicky Whelan, they were all on-point. And I find that exciting. To me, it was, it was an exercise and I’m very happy with the results.

Moderator: That’s great. So the story centers on “Rayford Steele” and his daughter "Chloe”. How do you describe their relationship? How does it relate even maybe to your own thoughts as a father? What makes them relatable characters and for most of the people on the call here, they haven’t seen the film. Explain a little bit about your relationship there and why this matters in this movie.

Nicolas Cage: Well I mean “Ray Steele” is a, he’s a captain of a jumbo jet, a transatlantic jumbo jet going, you know to London, England. And, you know, he’s, he’s, he’s an important guy on that airplane and he has a flirtation and this, there’s, there’s a chemistry that’s happening with the flight attendant, so marvelously played by Nicky Whelan and he loses track, you know, he loses sight of what’s really valuable to him in terms of you know, his treasures within which is his love for his family. He’s kind of, not that he’s a bad guy but he’s making a mistake that many people make that are in powerful positions where they, you know lose track of the importance of family. They’re drawn away, or they’re seduced or they’re taken from their true inner-values by, by, by something attractive, or something flirtatious, or something that, that has the call of the wild. And they lose their place, and what I like about that is that many people do it. But that “Ray Steele” gets back to his true need for family through this experience, through this extraordinary experience and understands the value of family and just wants to get back to that no matter what happens. Just to be able to get back on the phone with his daughter. Say I’m sorry. And say “I love you.” And I think that’s, it’s as simple as that. I think that is heart-wrenching. And if you have a heart, I don’t think it’s possible to see the movie and not get a little verklempt. I mean it, there’s some very poignant, emotional moments.

Moderator: Yeah. Great. Was there, is this the first time you’ve really heard about this story? Like when you heard about the potential (inaudible) people being taken away from the earth or disappearing. Is this the first time like, the rapture was kind of a new concept…(cut off).
Nicolas Cage: No, no. I’m familiar with the rapture of course. I mean, I’m not familiar with it in any aspect outside of what the bible says, but you know, I was not familiar with the LEFT BEHIND series. My brother, Mark, is a Christian pastor, and he was very excited about this. And he said, you know, Nicky, you’ve really got to to do this. I mean this is a, and so I, I, you know I’d already wanted to make the movie because I thought it was such a great script and an opportunity again to do something challenging. But when I saw how passionate he was, I thought, well yeah I want to make this movie for my brother too.
Moderator: That’s great. Well I think that you’re making this movie for lots of people because people are very excited about it coming out and it’s got a lot of anticipation around it so people are excited to hear from you. We’re getting lots of questions. And, you know one of the questions too that has come in is, you know, with a lot of the roles that you take that are very heartfelt, there’s a lot of things that you are drawn to, or that you play where you tell a human story with a larger than life narrative. Is that something you, you love to play just because it really has the potential to affect people in their lives deeply? Or is it usually just like you said with this one where it’s the script or is there something about that, that is just meaningful to you because you probably see it affect people in a positive way.
Nicolas Cage: Well there’s, I mean if you look at my filmography, there’s no secret to the fact that I, I am drawn to movies that aren’t afraid to take on spiritual themes. And you know, without going into my own personal, you know, spirituality which is very sacred to me and not something that I think is, you know for public consumption or to be put on the, or in the media but, but I like to let my work speak for me. I like to find movies that allow me to explore these inner or outer worlds through the work without having to really talk too much about it.
Moderator: Yeah that’s, that’s great and you do a fabulous job doing it. So, you may know that we have most of the cast on the call and then we have Paul LaLonde, we have Vic Armstrong on with us. Paul, Vic is there anything, since we have Nicolas on the line with us now that you want to make sure is said, or that is just communicated on this call? I know people have been hearing a lot of really great things. I want to remind people on this call too that you can view the trailer and you can get a lot of information at LeftBehindMovie.com. And, you know I’ve been telling you throughout this call where you can get a lot of the press materials, LeftBehindMovie.OnlineMediaSpot.com. So, you know, we would encourage you guys if you have more questions, feel free to keep emailing them in. And if you, you know need more information again, again I know I’ve said it before, but you can get the production notes at these websites. And so, Paul or Vic is there anything that you want to still bring up here, or even Nicolas, Cassi, Nicky, anybody that’s on the call, is there anything that you want to also add in that maybe has, you know sparked a thought from you that you want to include here before we wrap up this call?
Vic Armstrong: Hi this is Vic. Hi Nic. Welcome. (chuckling).
Nicolas Cage: Hi.
Vic Armstrong: So what was, what was interesting with what you’re saying there, I go back to when we sat down to discuss this script at Great Fosters at Egham in London before you flew out and I flew out here. We actually sat down and we, we both agreed we loved the script which was, you know the basis for any movie and we both loved the script but what was fascinating when I think back to it, all we discussed was our families and how this would affect our families. And how people aren’t 100% pure. They do wave a slightly left or right on their journey through life. And it’s what you said there, it’s when “Ray Steele” does see the light. And he goes back to, to his family, and his love for his daughter and everything else. To me it’s fascinating, it brought it all back, hearing you say that. Because we didn’t discuss the nuances of the characters. We’ve discussed in general how much your family does lead you through life and how much they mean to all of us. So that was wonderful to re-live that again.
Nicolas Cage: Yes. And also I, the only other thing that I would mention is that I, I want this movie to work for people, for me, of all faiths. It’s about when you have those moments there really are no atheists in fox holes. And so when you’re in a crisis, in a crisis like that, I want people from all faiths be able to say, you know, we’re, we’re all invited to the table. I mean we’re all going to get something from this movie.
Vic Armstrong: Exactly. Yeah.
Moderator: Yeah. That’s great. So since Vic just spoke up, Nicolas you may be kind of, we’ll all wrap this up here momentarily. It would just be great to hear you speak to what it was like to work with Vic Armstrong as your director. Right in front of him (laughing).
Nicolas Cage: Well actually I’m very comfortable working with Vic. I got to spend quite a bit of time with him on another movie that we made, called Season of the Witch. And it was a good experience and I thought that he directed me to a good performance and something that I was very proud of and wanted to work with him again. I, I knew that I would be able to relax with him and that I would be able to go within and just sort of exhale and be in the moment, be in the scene. That he would allow his actors to breathe and to be relaxed and to find the truth of their performances. And it really shows in the movie. I mean, across the board, of Chad Michael Murray, and Nicky, and Cassi again just, just powerfully real performances. And I knew that that would happen working again with Vic.

Moderator: Mmm hmmm. Great. And one last thing, you touched on a little bit but I know you have spoken to how just the importance of family and just how you really want people to take away from this too just how important that is. Is there anything more that you could just share with people about how this movie, does, kind of draw people to want to, I mean I know you mentioned that you know, the, the entire concept of the movie is about making sure, you know where your family is and thinking about them but is there something just about family to this movie that meant something personally to you as well?

 Nicolas Cage: Well, anytime I make a movie, no matter how, how extraordinary the circumstances of the movie I try to come at it from a place of truth even if it’s truth in my imagination. I don’t want to act. I don’t want, because in that, in some way that implies lying. For me acting is trying to get the truth of an experience in my past or with in my memory almost like an impression and try to make it, you know, real within a performance. Recall it, and then bring it to the situation that my character finds himself in. And, it was, without thinking too much about it or breaking it down too much it was more about recalling emotions that I may have experienced in my own life, and applying them to the relationship between “Ray Steele” and “Chloe”, his daughter. And having a chance to say what I wanted to say through that character. And that, I think I’ve already probably said too much. But, but in other words, I don’t want to fake it, I want it to be authentic. And this character, in this movie, you know, within the context of the extraordinary circumstance gave me the chance to do that.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A View from Screenwriter Paul LaLonde's Window - LEFT BEHIND! Opening October 3rd!!

LEFT BEHIND is the first novel in Tim LaHaye's iconic series of the same name.  Paul LaLonde has created a film based on the initial scenarios of the novel series that promises to be just as iconic in the film industry.

Starring Nicholas Cage as well as a number of other very talented actors such as Chad Michael Murray (Chosen) and Cassi Thompson (House,CSI) and Lea Thompson (Back to the Future) Paul was able to watch his screen play brought to vivid life with the help of Vic Armstrong, John Patus and Michael Walker.

Please welcome Paul LaLonde to my Window as we discuss the release of his latest film, Left Behind.

Left Behind – the Rapture story – what sets the re-make of this film apart from the other faith-based films being produced right now?
           
Many of the films of 2014 are interpretations of historical events depicted in the Bible (Noah, Exodus) or explore themes of faith (Heaven Is For Real, God’s Not Dead). LEFT BEHIND focuses on present day, but depicts actual events prophesied in the Bible. The Rapture can happen at any moment and LEFT BEHIND will take viewers on that journey.  In this day and age with all the knowledge we have, LEFT BEHIND tackles questions for audiences like - How would we react to this? What are the immediate consequences of this happening today?
         
Why was the decision made to remake this film and focus solely on the day the Rapture occurs?  What benefit does that give to an audience?
         
Back when we made the first LEFT BEHIND movie in 2000, we tried to cover the entire contents of book that is several inches thick, where the events of the Rapture are covered essentially in the first 20 pages. It has always been my goal to create a movie that depicts the magnitude of what “that day” might look like – the immediate aftermath of millions of people disappearing at once, in the blink of an eye.
           
Many people watching the film – and many of the actors that hold major roles in the film – view the Rapture as one of many “end of the world” stories.  Was it your intent to present this as Biblical truth or as something that will cause the general population to consider this as a possibility?
         
We can already look at current events around the world and see the signs of times that point to the Rapture. LEFT BEHIND is biblically sound and I have no doubt that the general public will leave the theater and want to understand more of what has been prophesied.                      
         
Ray Steele’s wife and Chloe’s mother was a believer, and her absence becomes a vivid reminder that her faith was indeed real, and true.  That she was raptured from earth becomes the foundation of some serious introspection in Chloe and Ray’s life.  Is this the dynamic that makes this movie stand out from other faith-based films?  Does this relational angle give people pause to examine their own lives and seek truth?
         
I think this is a very common scenario in families everywhere. And like many families, the dynamic between Irene and Ray and Irene and Chloe    was for it to cause a break in the relationships. Irene’s faith because a barrier for Ray and Chloe, when it shouldn’t have been. And we also see the consequences of not only Irene’s unwavering faith, but also the pain         she goes through to keep her faith and her family together. I think a lot of wives and girlfriends will be able to get their partner out to the theater onOctober 3 because it’s a Nicolas Cage action movie, but it can also spark a deeper conversation and understanding of their faith.
         
In one of the interviews within the press kit, someone says that the movie will cause people to go to the Bible and read the story of the Rapture.  Is that one of the hopes you had while creating this script? Do you hope people will find truth?
         
Yes. Our tagline is ‘Are you ready?’ This story depicts the Rapture happening today. It was specifically written to provoke thought and curiosity and the desire to learn more, while at the same not being too ‘in-your-face’ preachy. I believe that LEFT BEHIND will propel general audiences to pick up the Bible (a book that they may never have opened before) and find out more for themselves about this apocalyptic phenomenon. 
                            
Who is your favorite character in the movie?  One that you relate to most closely?  Why?
         
To be honest, it would have to be Chloe. Her dialogue throughout is essentially me talking. Before I came to the Lord, I had a lot of well-reasoned arguments. Like me, she needed a lot of proof and had a lot of questions and really battled before finally letting down her guard.
         
How has the writing of this screenplay and the fruition of the movie impacted your own faith-walk?
         
It took about a year for me and my writing partner John Patus to get the script together. Going into it, we had some very clear goals of what we wanted to accomplish with the characters, and how the message of the film came across and what the day of the Rapture would look like exactly. We had to be able to tie everything into a tight script with characters that people would care about and relate to. It took a lot of hard work and soul searching to bring life and perspective to these characters and I think God would not have accepted anything less to get His message out.
         
Are you pleased with the quality of the film?  Do you hope the success of this film will open new doors for you to make other faith-based films?  Is this the mission field God has called you serve?
          
Yes, very much so. We shot LEFT BEHIND on a $16 million budget and every dollar of that is in this movie. The cast is amazing! Nicolas Cage brought his “A game” to set as did every incredible crewmember we worked with. The entire crew list, which includes Vic Armstrong as director (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Amazing Spider-Man, James Bond) Jack Green as director of photography (Unforgiven), and Stephen Altman as production designer (Chronicle, Gosford Park), would be the same names you see working on a $200 million action epic. It was an honor to work with them. We absolutely will continue to raise the bar with more faith-themed films.

You indicate that Left Behind represents a very small portion of a much larger work?  Will we see more films bases off this series of books?
         
Yes, sequels are planned.

Do you feel that we are living in the end time?  Why or why not? How do you hope Left Behind impacts the Kingdom?
         

I believe many of the signs are clear these days. I am ready and I hope this film will help more people say the same.



Monday, September 29, 2014

A View from Vic Armstrong's Window - LEFT BEHIND

“Left Behind” is directed by Academy and BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker Vic Armstrong, who is known for directing “Young Indiana Jones” for George Lucas, starring Sir Christopher Lee, Joss Ackland and Jennifer Ehrle and “Joshua Tree” starring George Segal, Michelle Phillips and Dolph Lundgren. Armstrong is also renowned for his staging & directing action sequences in such films as “The Mission,” multiple James Bond films, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Green Hornet,” “Thor,” and recently “Jack Ryan” to name a few.




Here's what Vic Armstrong had to say about Left Behind on a conference call last week!

Now I was absolutely thrilled when, when I read this script. I read three or four scripts a week when I’m not working and I guess as you know my background is pretty heavily action-orientated. And I have to tell stories with, with visual action. And to read this script and see how character-driven it was and what a fabulous story-line it had was a thrill to me. 

And when I did first meet Paul LaLonde he came around the house and the first thing I said to him was, well I’ll tell you what, I love the script so much I can’t see a word in it I’d like to change. And normally on a script, you take them, you’d break them down, you’d take this out, you’d throw this away and put this in to it. But this had every, everything you see on the screen was written in that original script. And I was blown away by this fact. 

You know, funny-enough during the process, we thought well maybe we won’t have enough time to shoot it all in what could we lose if we lose anything and we’d take some little object out, some little part out, immediately putting it back in because it just upset the flow of the whole movie. So, I was thrilled to have such a great script to start with and to be able to show my, my talents if you’d like as a director with having a story-telling.

 And then the next step was of course getting the great cast together and a crew. And we did, as Paul said we’ve got an A-list cast. Every single one of them did a sterling performance and I’m so excited for all of them and every time I look at it I’m so ecstatic about they translated their parts into the story telling. And it’s not only the cast, you need a good crew to make a movie and I got Jack Green, one of the greatest cinematographers there’s been in the last few years, he’s done all the Clint Eastwood stuff, he was nominated for “Unforgiven,” and we talked about it and I, I, I only see things big in film worlds, in film visions and I wanted to shoot this wide-screen and Jack was my man and he was on-board with that. 

And we covered everything so easily, it just seemed no problem, wherever we put the camera down was a wonderful frame and we didn’t go in for all the crazy tight close-ups and things. We shot it to give the characters breathing-space and we shot it with enough time for them to establish their characters and tell their stories. We had a wonderful production designer, in Stephen Altman, Robert Altman’s son who did fabulous work on it, so for me it was a labor of love. It’s been absolutely phenomenal. And even when we got to the location, everywhere we turned. The house we found, for, for "Chloe’s" house, “Rayford Steele’s” house, was absolutely brilliant how it didn’t need changing inside, and everything, it was serendipity, everything just fell into place. So I feel blessed, and all the stars aligned, figuratively-speaking and reality-speaking. (laughing) And I could not be happier with it, I must say. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Stress Cure by Linda Evans Shepherd - REVIEWED


About the Book:
We live in a world filled to the brim with advice, and when it comes to dealing with stress, there’s plenty of advice to go around. Sleep more, eat better, avoid this, seek out that. But more advice on coping is not necessarily what the stressed and anxious person needs. What we need is a cure. Linda Evans Shepherd has discovered it.
The true remedy to stress, she says, is prayer. In this inspiring book, Shepherd shows readers how to recognize God’s continual presence and yield their troubles to the Prince of Peace. Through captivating stories, explorations of fascinating biblical characters, and examples of deeper-than-ever prayers, she brings within readers’ grasp the peace that passes understanding. Anyone who is overwhelmed by all of the urgent demands on their time will find in this book a lifeline to true peace.

My Thoughts:
"It is the Spirit who helps us tear down walls, makes miracles of our messes, comforts our heartaches, and leads us to breakthroughs"  (p.27)

Taking ten areas of life, all of which believers struggle with at some point, Linda Evans Shepherd basically take readers on a journey to freedom!  What a blessing to take each chapter and digest it through personal testimony, Scripture and Biblical examples and then practical application through prayer and self-examination.  When Linda encourages the reader “…yield to the presence of the Holy Spirit through prayer,”  my heart rejoiced!! To ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth in such a personal way – powerful stuff! And then, she leads you in a prayer asking, “Show me which attitudes you would like to set me free from so we can clean my soul and make more room for you and your peace.”  Well, that is shoutin’ ground my friend!  That is where freedom is found!! That is the point at which you are set free from the sin that binds you!

Feelings of being overwhelmed, stuck, frustrated, burdened, hopeless, offended, anxious, negative, distracted, depressed…each of these areas is tenderly yet firmly placed in its rightful place at the foot of the cross!  I’ve read several of Linda’s book, and with each one I find healing and a greater level of relationship with my Father!  To me, this is the most transformational book for me personally.  The Lord is pretty much delivering me from so much sin and junk that the freedom is blissful and amazing!! I am so loved by my Father through the shed blood of His Son it is just – well – amazing!


I am happy and excited to recommend The Stress Cure to everyone!!
About the Author:   Linda Evans Shepherd is an award-winning author, a successful speaker, and a radio personality. The president of Right to the Heart Ministries, she is the author of When You Don’t Know What to Pray and Experiencing God’s Presence. She and her husband live in Colorado. Learn more atwww.StressPrayers.com


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hidden in the Stars
Abingdon Press (September 16, 2014)
by
Robin Caroll


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her 3 beautiful daughters, 2 precious grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?

ABOUT THE BOOK

Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?

My Thoughts:  ( and a gush warning! )
There has to be something we’re missing.”  (p. 49)
Julian really said a mouthful when he uttered these words!!  When I saw Robin Caroll’s name on the cover of a Quilts of Love novel, I admit, I was confused!  How on earth would she ever showcase her thrill-ride suspense and incorporate a quilt and a romance besides?  Oh man!  I should have never doubted her skill set!!  At all!

Russian ballet dancers, young, careless love, jealousy, blackmail – even murder!  AND on top of all of that, the gospel is plainly and very naturally woven into a couple of scenes!!  The faith element is very authentic and realistically woven into the story line! No preachy interruptions here!  Just an ever increasing fast- paced plot that gets more convoluted with every turn of the page!!  Robin is brilliant! No doubt about it!


And a quilt? How in the world does a quilt figure into this plot?? You will love it!!  So unexpected and so subtle!  This I never saw coming!  You won’t either! That’s what makes this so brilliant!  Robin adds a stellar addition of romantic suspense to this already stellar series!  You don’t want to miss Hidden in the Stars!  Trust me!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hidden in the Stars, go HERE.